Today marks the 109th birthday of Samuel Beckett, and Irish avant-garde playwright, poet, novelist, and theatre director. A popular and one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, Beckett is counted amongst the last of the modernists writers. Beckett was strongly influenced by fellow modernist writer James Joyce. In turn, Beckett became an influence for many writers after him due to which Beckett is considered as one of the fathers of the postmodernism movement.
Born into a protestant, middle-class Irish family, Beckett is often called a recluse and is known to have bouts of depression even as a young man. He once remarked on his childhood, “I had little talent for happiness.” His “depression” found its way in his writings as well and is especially evident in Vladimir and Estragon’s endless wait in one of his most famous work Waiting for Godot (translation of his own original French play, En attendant Godot). Several of Beckett’s experiences from his travel through Ireland, France, England, and Germany had appearance in his writings.
“No, I regret nothing, all I regret is having been born, dying is such a long tiresome business I always found.”
– Samuel Beckett
Beckett made Paris his home in 1937 and though he wrote in French as well as English, majority of his works were written in French. His works have been translated into over twenty languages. His works presented the absurdity of human existence and were rich in black humour.
Along with Waiting for Godot, Endgame (Fin de partie), Krapp’s Last Tape, and Happy Days were also very successful and still read across the globe. His three famous novels – Molloy, Malone Dies (Malone meurt), and The Unnamable (L’innommable) – are often regarded as a trilogy; though Beckett explicitly refused to acknowledge them as such. Beckett also created a treasure in poetry; his first major publication – Whoroscope – was in fact a poem. His poetry is equally complex, and at times baffling, as his prose.
-Article by Priyanka Kharbanda